Young people, and social technology users in general have definitely become more engaged in political, economic and social matters online. Youth activist groups, particularly those who operate through and use social media are multiplying. Young people have seemed to start to find their voices, and the social networking tools to get their opinions out there.
However, how effective is this online activism, or ‘clicktivism’ (Khorana 2014)? Sometimes it is only effective in raising awareness, and not so effective in finding a solution. For example, do you remember #Kony2012? The video today has almost 100,000,000 views on it, and ‘Kony’ still hasn’t been caught. This is because of the specific situation, and the fact that no matter how many likes, shares, or views it has, the problem is happening in a country that doesn’t have social networking, with quite a corrupt government. This makes it extremely difficult to have any real impact on and resolve the issue, however at least it raised awareness that people in disadvantaged countries do actually live like this. However, for more accessible (so to speak) issues, such as breast cancer awareness, online activism can be extremely useful. Although everybody seemed to think that the #nomakeupselfies campaign was ‘annoying’ and futile, however it raised $14.5 million (Mercer2014). This means that more research can be carried out to hopefully one day find a cure.
For me, the majority of my instagram and tumblr feeds are young people with political interests, for example by various vegans, feminists, and human rights activists, because they are the blogs/people whom i chose to follow. However, this notion could be a problem. I chose to follow them, and that’s why i get their information they put across. This information, unless it goes viral, only goes to people who want to hear it. On social networking for example, if somebody is posting things that you disagree with such as feminist or animal right views, it is easy enough to just unfollow them and not hear about it again.
So, in conclusion, online activism can be both ineffective and effective. It is ineffective when the problem is out of our reach or if it is not viral and people do not want to hear/read about it, however it is successful when people are interested and can easily have an impact, for example by donating money to a cause.
Khorana, S 2014, BMC112 We are the 99%, 2014 lecture notes 6 May, University of Wollongong, Autumn semester, 2014
Mercer, D 2012, No make-up selfies raise millions, The Australian, viewed 9 May 2014, <http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/latest-news/no-make-up-selfies-raise-millions/story-fn3dxix6-1226864823962>